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From 17 November 2002 Issue

The Active Activist - Tips and Recipes for Thanksgiving
By Michelle A. Rivera - MichelleRivera1@aol.com

This month we are all talking about kinder and gentler ways to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. We activists certainly have a lot to be thankful for since five out of six of the ballot initiatives for animals on state ballots passed on November 5th! We are so thankful for all the activists out there who were working on ballot initiatives to help pregnant pigs, greyhounds, dogs and cats and roosters!

So let’s get working on helping others to become more aware of the animals this Thanksgiving and help our friends, neighbors, co-workers and others in our community learn how they can enjoy the holidays without killing a single soul!

Set your date: A lot of people are hosting their parties on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. This gives everyone a chance to be with their vegan families and their biological families. Spend the Saturday before with all your vegan friends, old and new, and you can still have a traditional Thanksgiving on Thursday. Either Saturday, before or after is fine.

Get your list: Most of us don’t have a lot of vegan friends nearby…..or do we? We never know until we reach out. One way I have found to find other activists in my area is to contact Peta and ask them for a list of activists in your area. We are often given opportunities to give Peta and others permission to give our names out to local activists who are planning demos or who are working on local issues. If you contact Peta, they will send you a list of the activists in your area who have given this permission. The Humane Society of the United States Humane Activist Network also keeps a list of people who want to be contacted by local activists. (If you are in Florida, I am the State Coordinator for the state of Florida and can give you that list…contact me if you would like to know other activists in your area.) If you are not in Florida, contact the regional office (found on www.hsus.org) and ask them, or contact the Humane Activist Network office. (brosen@hsus.org) They will be happy to hook you up-and maybe sign you up to be a state coordinator or area manager too!

Contact your new friends: Send e-mails, make phone calls, send snail mail --whatever it takes! Your list should be as big or as small as your home permits. Don’t forget to invite non-vegan friends and family too. This is a great opportunity to show off all our versatility and epicurean delights!

Here are some recipes for traditional holiday foods to get you started. Bon Appetit!

Pumpkin–Rice Soup with Sage and Allspice- (Serves 4 - double for 8).
5 Cups Veg Stock
1 Can pumpkin
3 cloves garlic
½ cup cooked white basmati rice
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp ground allspice
pinch black pepper
1 cup soy or rice milk
¼ cup minced parsley
3 tbs lemon juice
½ cup chopped roasted walnuts
4 lemon wedges

In a stockpot combine stock, pumpkin and garlic. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then stir the rice, sage salt, allspice and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered 20 minutes. Stir frequently. Add the rice milk, parsley and lemon juice and heat until steaming. Serve sprinkled with walnuts. Pass lemon wedges.
Source: The Complete Vegan Cookbook (Prima Publishing)

Zesty Cranberry Sauce - Serves 8

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (I use organic)
½ cup undiluted orange juice concentrate
2 ripe pears, finely chopped
1 medium apple, finely chopped
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp grated orange rind
½ cup raw sugar (or other sweetener)

Combine all ingredients except sweetener in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Continue cooking, uncovered, until cranberry skins pop and mixture thickens slightly. Add sugar to taste. Serve hot or cold.
(Source: PCRM)

Risotto with Portobello Mushrooms and Radicchio – Serves four

½ lb. Portobello mushrooms
3 Tbs. olive oil
3 cloves garlic-minced
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp dried thyme
31/2 cups veg stock (I use miso stock)
¼ tsp salt
1 TBS dry sherry
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
½ cup minced fresh Italian parsley
1 cup finely diced radicchio

Clean mushrooms with brush. Trim and discard the bottoms of the stems, and remove the stems from the caps. Slice the mushroom caps into ¼ inch strips. Cut the stems in half lengthwise, then into quarters or eighths, depending on their size. Heat 2 tbs of the oil in a large skillet and add the garlic. Sauté for one minute, then add the mushroom caps, vinegar, lemon juice and thyme. Sauté for about 20 mins. until the mushrooms are tender and their liquid has reduced. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the stock in the sauce pan until just steaming, stir in the salt and keep this broth handy near the stove. Place the remaining 1 tbs oil and the sherry in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the rice. Stir for about one minute to coat the rice, then add the broth, ½ cup at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting until the liquid is almost absorbed before each new addition. Add the parsley, reserving 1 TBS with the last ½ cup of the broth. When the last addition of the broth has been absorbed and the rice is tender, transfer the risotto to a warmed serving bowl. Garnish with the sautéed mushroom strips, diced raw radicchio and remaining parsley. Serve immediately.
Source: The Complete Vegan Cookbook (Prima Publishing)

Of course, add some Tofurkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and roasted veggies to all of these wonderful foods, and top it all off with some Tofutti ice cream or:

POACHED APPLES - Serves 4
An aromatic treat to be enjoyed throughout the year.
20 dried, unsweetened apple rounds or slices
8 dried figs (Calmyrna best)
1-1/2 cups cranberry juice (about)
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 Tablespoons grated orange peel
Pinch of cinnamon
1 teaspoon arrowroot powder (optional)
Place all ingredients but arrowroot powder in a 2-quart pot with lid. Bring contents to boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes. Stir occasionally. If desired, thicken juice with arrowroot powder, then bring to a final boil and remove from heat at once. Let stand at least 15 minutes. Serve hot or cold.
Source –Vegetarian Resource Group
For more fun and recipes go to www.VRG.org.

Entertainment:
For a fun game and ice breaker you can try with your new friends, hook up your computer to the internet and play the Online Vegetarian Game found at www.vrg.org (http://www.vrg.org/game/index.htm)

Another fun game is this: Tell everyone they are animals! They don’t know what animals they are. Pin tags on the BACK of each person with the name and/or picture of an animal. Guest take turns acting out the animals without making noises and the person has to guess what animal they are. The last one to guess has to host next year’s party!

A variation of that one is this: Divide the number of guests by half, then come up with that many animals. For example, if you have 10 guests, you will have five animals. On slips of paper, write down the five animals but two of the slips will have the same animal. Two slips of frogs, two slips of owls, two cats, etc. Tell everyone they are an animal on the ark. Each person is given a slip of paper with an animal’s name on it. The object of the game is for each person to act out the animal, using sounds. They must find their mate, for someone else is acting the same way!

Have a fun and gentle Thanksgiving this year.

Go on to Gentle Thanksgiving Dinner Register
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